Austria has ordered the closure of ‘radical’ mosques in the wake of Monday’s deadly jihadist shooting in the capital Vienna.
The country’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz labelled political Islam ‘dangerous’ to the European way of life and called for an end to tolerance after the attack which killed at least four people.
Kurz, who has been discussing a joint initiative with Emmanuel Macron about tackling terrorism, has urged EU leaders to work together against Islamic fundamentalism.
He told German newspaper Die Welt: ‘I expect an end to the misconceived tolerance and for all the nations of Europe to finally realise how dangerous the ideology of political Islam is for our freedom and the European way of life.’
A ministry spokesman said more details on the closure of mosques would be given at a press conference shortly with Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and Integration Minister Susanne Raab.
It comes as German police raided the homes and businesses of four people linked to the man who carried out the deadly attack.
The country’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz labelled political Islam ‘dangerous’ to the European way of life and is set to close ‘radical’ mosques
German police have raided the homes and businesses of four people linked to the man who carried out a deadly terror attack in Vienna on Monday. Police officers are standing outside an apartment building during a search in Osnabrueck today
Federal police said officers – including members of the GSC9 anti-terrorism unit – searched premises in the cities of Osnabrueck, Kassel and in Pinneberg, a district near Hamburg on Friday morning.
The four men whose properties were raided are not suspected of involvement in the shooting and stabbing attack which killed at least four people and injured 23 more, police said.
However there is evidence that the individuals had links to the attacker, 20-year-old Kujtim Fejzulai, who was shot dead by police on Monday.
No arrests have been made in the searches, which come as the investigation into the attack stretches beyond Austria.
German police have raided homes and businesses of four men linked to the terrorist who carried out an attack on Monday. Officers searched premises in the cities of Osnabrueck, Kassel and in Pinneberg, a district near Hamburg on Friday morning
On Tuesday, Swiss police arrested two people in the city of Winterthur as part of an investigation into possible links to Fejzulai, Zurich authorities said in a statement.
Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said Friday’s raids were intended to gather evidence.
Fejzulai is said to have met two of the men in Vienna in July this year and to have been in contact with a third via the internet, German news website Tagesschau reported.
It added that there had been no direct contact between the attacker and the fourth subject of Friday’s raids but that the two men had had ‘indirect contact’ online.
The searches came a day after German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced that the Vienna attacker had connections to threats in Germany.
Fejzulai launched his deadly attack in central Vienna around 8pm local time on the last night before a lockdown to contain coronavirus came into effect.
German art student Vanessa Preger-McGillivray, 24, was among those killed by Fejzulai
Chinese national Li Quang was also killed in Monday’s attack. He owned two businesses in the area where the assault occurred
Around nine minutes later, he was shot and killed by police. A robot was sent to his corpse as he was believed to be wearing an explosive belt though it was later found to be a dummy.
Three of his victims have been named as German art student Vanessa Preger-McGillivray, 24, Chinese restaurant owner Li Quang, 39, and 21-year-old Austrian Nexhip Vrenezi.
A fourth victim is thought to be a 44-year-old woman.
Nexhip Vrenezi, 21, was the first victim of Monday’s terror attack to be named
Fejzulai also shot a 28-year-old police officer who had been the first to fire on the attacker just three minutes after his assault began.
The officer is in a stable condition following surgery, authorities said on Thursday.
Following the attack, damning information about Fejzulai’s previous activities has come to light including that authorities had been warned this summer that he had attempted to buy ammunition for an assault rifle across the border in Slovakia.
The dual national of Austria and North Macedonia was also a known Islamic State sympathiser who had been arrested in Turkey while trying to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
He was returned to Austria and jailed in 2019 over the failed attempt but was granted early release in December that year under under juvenile law because he was under 18 years old at the time of his offence and had agreed to take part in a de-radicalisation program.
At the time, Fejzulai was not deemed capable of carrying out an attack and Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer later admitted that the terrorist had fooled the country’s judiciary and workers on the de-radicalisation course.
At least 15 people have been arrested in Austria and two in Switzerland since Monday’s attack.
Nehammer said on Thursday that the FBI and Europol are also assisting with the information.
Kutjim Fejzulai, 20, posted this photo to his social media prior to the attack. It shows the weapons he used to kill four people and injure 23 more in Vienna on Monday
Mourners on Thursday light candles at a vigil for the victims of the deadly attack in Vienna